Criminal justice system's 'dark secret'
Posted in the Fitchburg Forum
#1 Mar 22, 2013
Criminal justice system's 'dark secret': Teenagers in solitary confinement
Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:57 PM EDT.
View video http://rockcenter.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/2...
By Elizabeth Chuck, NBC News, and Deirdre Cohen and Sarah Koch, Rock Center
Courtesy of the Stewart family
James Stewart, who was arrested after being charged with vehicular homicide when he was 17, is seen in an undated school photo.
James Stewart, a 17-year-old from Denver who committed suicide while in solitary confinement, had never been to jail before August of 2008. That was when, under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, Stewart had gotten into a head-on car collision, killing a 32-year-old man.
Because of the severity of his crime, Stewart was charged with vehicular homicide – and charged as an adult. His family couldn’t make bail, so Stewart was placed in the Denver County Jail while he awaited his sentence.
There was just one problem: Since he was a minor, Stewart was ordered to be put in protective custody, separate from the adult prisoners— and the best protection the jail had to offer was solitary confinement.
Weeks later, the psychological impact was too much. After a brief reprieve from solitary to be in a shared cell with another juvenile offender, Stewart was sent back to isolation after a minor argument with his cellmate. According to his older sister, Nicole Miera, Stewart took his own life after less than 10 minutes of being back in what inmates called "the hole."
"It was stated that that when he got in there, he was pretty upset," Miera told NBC's Ted Koppel, her eyes filling with tears. "He had taken a sheet and he had wrapped around his neck and just twisted until he couldn't twist anymore."
Stewart was one of many juveniles who are in adult jails and prisons across America. Not all of their stories end as tragically as his, but the increasingly blurry line between juvenile offenders and adult correctional facilities have made many wonder if better solutions are needed for this growing population.
For each of the past five years, roughly 100,000 juveniles have been held in adult jails and prisons, according to data from the Department of Justice.
Defense attorney Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Montgomery, Ala.-based Equal Justice Initiative, told NBC these youths are getting unfairly harsh treatment for the crimes they commit.
"Ninety-one percent of the children who are serving time in adult jails and prisons are serving time in jails and prisons for crimes that are not murder, crimes that are not sex crimes," he said. "Solitary confinement is pretty horrible for anybody, but it's especially horrible for a child. It is psychological torture."
‘The dark secret of the criminal justice system’
Data on how many of those young people nationwide are held in solitary confinement isn't available, but a report published this past October by Human Rights Watch and The American Civil Liberties Union said the New York City Department of Corrections, for example, reported that in fiscal year 2012, 14 percent of all detained adolescents were held in solitary at least once.
#2 Mar 22, 2013
"I spoke to kids. They talked about being in a cell alone, the size of a parking space, the size of an elevator," said Ian Kysel, who authored the HRW/ACLU report. "This is sort of the dark secret of the criminal justice system.... Jails and prisons don't make available their data on solitary confinement."
At New York City's Riker's Island, the average length of solitary confinement for youths last year was 43 long, 23-hour days, according to Kysel's report.
The catch-22 of being prosecuted as adults but segregated from the adult prison population because they are still minors is literally making young offenders go out of their minds — and many of them have mental health issues before they are put in isolation, according to the HRW/ACLU report.
Stuart Grassian, a Boston-based psychiatrist who is an expert on solitary confinement, cites CIA research done in the 1950s, which found solitary confinement made American prisoners of war in North Korea go psychotic.
"What was produced by that was a person who was so unhinged, he was confused, disoriented, disheveled," he told NBC News, "They wouldn't sometimes know who they were. They couldn't think."
Kysel, the author of the report on adolescents in adult prisons, has called for youth solitary confinement to be banned and for other punishments — such as taking away privileges — to be instituted instead. Grassian agrees that this is necessary.
"You have these kids getting more and more out of control, more and more impulsive, more and more emotionally out of control because they're in solitary. It's very likely that's going to be a permanent impairment in their lives," he said. "Well, guess what? Ninety-five percent of them are gonna get out back into your community. What do you want them to be like when they get out?"
Rock Center's Rima Abdelkader contributed to this report.
Watch Ted Koppel's full report on teenagers in solitary confinement on "Rock Center With Brian Williams" Friday, March 22, at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.
#3 Mar 22, 2013
#4 Mar 22, 2013
The cells in Worcester house and state prison are twice as small as the ones you see in this video and there are two beds as bunk beds.
In Concord the bed touches the toilet. In Worcester house the cells are so dirty skin infections are common.
Worcester House is a human rights violator run by Evangelitist. Worcester house breeds hatred. If you go in calm you are coming out hating.
If you are awaiting trial all your rights are violated. Mental health is NON existing. If you go in with a medical condition dying is a good possibility!
Evangelitists is failing the tax payer as he is breeding pure hatred and mental health torture. Nothing but pure disrespect and torture at this prison.
It is the worst prison in the US I am sure. Canteen items are five times the worst California prisons!!!!!
Awaiting trial you are a detainee as Evangelitists is violating laws! The canteen prices violates consumer laws. It takes at least a week to be able to see anyone and that is if you are lucky! You are bared from making phone calls to family until they allow the call lists.
They mess with you on purpose, they antagonize you to react! They build hate when there is none.
This is where Antonucci had the college kid placed on Christmas!!!!
Evangelitist is as phony as anyone can get in life! He cut down tier time by 50%. If you don't come out sick and suffering mental health wise then you are a unstable person made that way by Evangelitist torture chamber.
The meat is labeled "not for human consumption".
Now there will be those who state good! Just remember Mr. closed mind that this is in your county, these guys only serve 2 yrs at this torture chamber and they are among you all.
Worcester house has the highest percentage of injured guards in the state. This means more tax money.
Already the state is talking about taking away health care for all state workers before they retire. More guards will be going out on disability pensions before this bill passes so you can be guaranteed a tax hike to pay for it!
#5 Mar 22, 2013
So because this poor guy was found to be wrongfully incarcerated you believe that it should apply to you too? Fat chance. You have said, in all caps, that you were 100% INNOCENT. But you pled guilty. Everyone over the age of 9 knows you're lying. And not on probation? That's a laff too.
#6 Mar 22, 2013
Not on probation! Seriously, what part do you not understand?
#7 Mar 23, 2013
Sorry to here going to prison isn't like staying at a nice hotel. I'm going to make a personel note not to go there. You should consider my idea and stay out of them. What's wrong with you that you always go to prison? It's not normal.
#8 Mar 23, 2013
What part don't I understand? I don't understand a word you're saying. So you are telling us the Sentinel was wrong, then? What up? It seemed pretty clear that you were (are) on probation. Were they lyIng? Are they part of the good old boy network? Are they part of the big conspiracy that are out to get you?
#9 Mar 23, 2013
I hate prisons, they treat people like criminals...wait a minute why is that gigantic white bat staring at me! Uh never mind just turned out to be a curtain. Anyways, Lynch seems like he has a sane and solid point here.
#10 Mar 23, 2013
Look in a mirror. See that guy in the mirror? Tie him up and call the police because he is crazy and may hurt someone! Hurry up!
#11 May 26, 2013
Maybe you could write a sort of Michelin guide for state correctional facilities. You know, one to three stars based on cuisine, facilities and amenities. You must be an expert by now.
#12 May 27, 2013
So let me get this straight. Your prison cells were not penthouses. You didn't have a maid service or your mom to clean so your cell got dirty. They wouldn't let people come and see you or make a phone call for a week. You got out of prison with hatred problems. You have mental disabilities. It kinda sounds like prison to me.
#13 May 27, 2013
Honestly what do you expect prison to be like? Maybe you should spend time in prison in a foreign country. You get your daily water boarding followed by a fine meal of maggots and rice and a free manicure where they don't polish your finger nails they pull them right out one at a time with pliers. People don't go to jail for jay walking or not paying a parking ticket so you must have done some bad things that was against others 'civil liberties'.
#14 May 27, 2013
Here is an idea! DON”T COMMIT A CRIME ! The biggest problem is a criminal complaining about prison conditions that they don’t realize why they are there in the first place.
Mental health is not an excuse to commit a crime. Stop riding the “mental health get out of jail free pass” game. Obviously everyone who commits a crime has a mental health issue.
In other countries if someone is caught stealing they will chop their hands off, no trial, no lawyers, nothing. Maybe we should go that route. All it will take is a few handless thieves and criminals will get the message. This is called the “deterrent factor”.
So what are we suppose to do? Do we let a criminal stay at the Holiday Inn awaiting trial? Do we let them enjoy CoCo key resort/waterpark?
I don’t want to hear “your innocent until proven guilty” argument either. Obviously they got arrested and charged with a crime. Do you think a murderer will actually show up for their trial if they are let free and not arrested?
In other countries there is not trial for murder, no lawyers, nothing. THEY ARE EXECUTED! This is called the “deterrent factor”.
If correctional officers are being injured it is not the condition of the prison or available mental health treatment, IT IS BECAUSE OF THE CRIMINAL WHO GOT THEMSELVES INTO PRISON!
Again, DON’T COMMIT A CRIME AND YOU WON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT PRISON CONDITIONS! Go to the country of Turkey and rest and relax in their prison. 6 inmates sleeping on a concrete floor and pooping in the same bucket!
We have the best prison’s in the World ! They are like Marriots compared to other prisons in other countries.
Criminals should never get the same amenities that a free person will get. This is the US’s version of the “deterrent factor” that should scare people straight in NOT committing a crime and NOT going to prison in the first place.
I know it’s tough (rubbing and stroking your head like your mother should have) but you will be okay little guy. Don’t ask yourself why the prison is like this and treating me this way, ask yourself “WHAT DID I DO THAT GOT ME HERE!”
#15 Dec 20, 2014
Dark, Darker, Darkest
#16 Dec 21, 2014
This seems pretty simple. Don't rob stores. Don't assault people.. Don't sell drugs. Don't run people off the road. Don't get drunk in public. And don't violate your parole. Then you won't gave to complain about being in stir. For most citizens, this makes perfect sense. For the would-be mayor/councilor/governor/senat or, though, it's easier to whine about all the indignities he's suffered after being sentenced to jail after each of his many crimes. Boo hoo hoo.
#17 Dec 21, 2014
Jtn is innicent
#18 Dec 25, 2014
I admit ,this time I have to agree with you, your Civil Rights were violated !
you at one time were a mayorial hopeful candadite,
how dare they treat you with such in-humane conditions.
you deserve better than that and YOU KNOW IT!!
Maybe a 50 foot by 120 foot penthouse cell with sea side views on the left and mountain views on the right, butler service at your beck an call, 5 star acclaimed personal chef, 6 person Jacuzzi with jet massage of course with accent lighting, bose surround sound wireless entertainment system with a 72 inch smart TV of course.QUeen size memory foam bed for you and your conjucal visitor freinds.maybe off to the side of the cell they could give you a 20by 30 foot fitness center with tread mill ,ellipticle trainer and free weights(it's important to be in top shape when in prison becouse you never know what type of un-savory Characters you may have to confront to "defend yourself), And on that note maybe we could appoint you a personel body guard maybe a a guy with a special forces background along with UFC championship ring.
would a personal massage therapist be of interest to you ? we could possibly schedule massages for you every other day or after workouts?
Oh and of course a 25 inch monitor with touch screen CybertronPC - Minotaur II Desktop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 2TB Hard Drive + 120GB Solid State Drive - Red Computer(Kevin this offers easy access to online gaming, for those long days in lock up).
in addition you will have high speed Fios internet service,this service is essential for you to comunicate to the outside world the in-justices that are taken place where you are, you of course will access to Topix to voice your opinion.would you like a printer to go along with this so you can right your congressman and the Civil Liberties union?
If I left anything out please feel free to let me know.
thanks Kevin and have a merry an joyous Christmas
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